This Artist's Work Will Make You Look Twice

Street artists are some of the most innovative art-makers out there because their work is so delicately bound up with the landscape (both actual and cultural) of a given city. But what about art that uses the streets for inspiration? That's the story behind NYC artist Trina Merry's latest series, which uses the backdrop of the Big Apple in combination with women's nude and intricately-painted bodies to create awesome results.

Merry starts by selecting a location within the city, then painting her model's body to fit seamlessly with the lines of the setting. When photographed from exactly the right angle, the women look almost invisible, as if they're spirits or ghosts. The organic lines of the human form create an intriguing dichotomy against the stark, mathematical precision of skyscrapers, ledges, and bridges. On her website, Merry states that she chose the human body as her canvas because it is unlike any other art form:

"Body paint creates a special connection to a person that other visual art forms have trouble accomplishing; it’s a distinctly human experience. My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium...The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color."

Check out this video of one of Merry's other projects to see the incredible detail that goes into painting each form (NSFW):

Since Merry's artwork can take up to six hours to create and photograph, she's often bothered by pedestrians and law enforcement who want to know why there's a naked person in the middle of the street. But that's hardly a negative part of her work, according to Merry. "I wanted to engage the city and understand it and make some observations," she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

In addition to the relationship between the human form and the cityscape it inhabits, I wonder if Merry's work has anything to do with gender politics (intentionally or unintentionally). Some of her other works are called "Objectified" and focus on women as lamps, vases, and statues. Is Merry trying to say that women can so easily get lost in the background? And if that happens, is it good or bad?

Art, man. It'll get to you.

Here are some of my favorite images from the series:

To check out more of Merry's art, you can visit her Facebook or her website.

Images: Trina Merry/Facebook